Being currently housebound finding a topic which doesn’t touch upon the health scare causing my hermitism can be a difficult task. I’d like to think I possess a creatively fertile mind, however the lack of doing much more than sitting on my ass writing makes that sitting on my ass writing a greater challenge.

Although I don’t like to dodge a test of my penmanship, I’m finding there’s only so much you can write about how your bed sores have bed sores, or your new healthier diet incorporating proper fruit instead of fruit flavoured gummy bears. A degree of difficulty further exacerbated by my decision to increase my daily literary output to two narratives (minimum of 500 words) instead of the usual one .

With this in mind, along with the fact I’ve woken feeling like I’ve been run over by a bus, today I’m going to retell a previously shared tale. A favourite anecdote of mine that’s a true story; one which despite it’s regurgitation I’d venture is a better read than the alternative bed sore update.

The tale occurred as follows:-……(Cue wavy visions indicating a regression in time)…..

Scene – The early hours of a morning circa 1990, five men sitting at a wooden dining table during a break from a gruelling nightshift’s labour. Their location a dimly lit company restaurant/canteen in Edgware, north London – The upcoming challenge – Two teams of two players seeking to prevail in the board game A Question of Sport.

The fifth man, deeming his sporting knowledge voids too vast to effectively participate, instead volunteering to partake in the capacity of furnishing both teams with their respective questions…… The above sentence my overly long-winded way of telling you he wanted to be question master as he knew absolutely chuff all about sport.

Anyhow, myself and a shift colleague made up one of the two sides; our opponents a duo of highly competitive workmates. Men whose determine to win extended as far as demanding drugs tests before our ‘friendly’ game….. A caveat that even extended to an insistence the question master also provided a urine sample.


With only the question master (QM) failing the test for presence of performance enhancing drugs the game proceeded unhindered.

Well almost!…… Our opponents win at all costs mantra also leading them to employ the unsettling tactics of insisting the questions were delivered in Greek. Bearing in mind the question master struggled speaking English fluently, not to mention he knew no Greek, it was a ludicrous notion. A further flaw in this demand being, even if the QM could speak Greek, it remained a futile tactic as none of the participants could. Ten minutes pre-game were wasted before our challengers relented and agreed the game could proceed in our mother tongue.

So with a background accompaniment of canteen lady Vera clattering catering utensils on the hot plate, the Question of Sport challenge began. As expected, when all participants had reasonable sporting knowledge, it was a hard fought encounter.

As the game’s conclusion beckoned it was looking like our opponents, one point behind our team but with their ‘one minute round’ yet to be delivered, would reign victorious.

For the uninitiated, the ‘one minute round’ is basically a challenge for your team to answer as many sporting questions as they can muster in a sixty second timespan. A round that can yield numerous points for the sportingly knowledgeable.

My team mate and me had finished our round already, our challengers only requiring two points to sample victory. Consequently, it was hardly a surprise they looked smugly on as they awaited their 60 seconds of sports queries, a short time that would surely end with them prevailing over our team.

It didn’t quite go to plan, though, as the QM’s sporadic stammering affliction kicked in just as the ‘one minute round’ started. Consequently, much to their frustration, our challengers only receive one question during a time they’d expect five or six.

With the one question delivered being answered correctly, the game ended as a tie, necessitating a sudden death question for each team to unearth a winner. Our challengers received their query first, which they correctly answered. Leaving my team mate and me having to answer our next question to stay in the game.

“At what sport did Sweden’s Anders Garderud win a gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games?” came the inquiry our Question of Sport lives depended upon.

My team mate and me looked at each other cluelessly; so bewildered I nearly asked the QM if he’d re-deliver the query in Greek. Seeing we were struggling with the question, and much to our opponents chagrin, he then well-meaningly uttered:-

“I’ll give you a clue, he won the medal while riding horse.” 

Floundering, we reeled off as many Olympic equestrian events we could bring to mind. Each one receiving a firm “No!” from the QM.

After exhausting our equestrian event knowledge, we were forced to admit defeat, asking the question master to furnish us with the answer. After a brief pause, he responded:-

“The men’s 3000 metres steeplechase.”